The year was 1992. The place was Regina, Saskatchewan.
They started by pulling most of the bricks off the outside of the structure
and then the wrecking ball came. I took quite a few photographs of the
demolition and I was sad to see the Capitol Theatre disappear. I was only
21, but I had a lot of nostalgia for the theater. The Capitol Theatre was
Regina’s last old-style movie house. While the Capitol was not the same
theatre it was when it first opened – it had been split into two theatres
from the original 1,500 seat auditorium – it was still a great place to see
I am not sure, but I think the last two films to play at the Capitol were
Out for Justice and Perfect Weapon, but the photo that I love of the
Theatre is this one with Wayne’s World and Straight Talk on the marquee.
Since the Coronet on Albert Street and the The Cornwall in the mall closed
there has not been a theatre in downtown Regina. That is not entirely true.
The Regina Public Library Theatre is still around and I have seen a lot of
great movies over the years there. But it has probably been a decade now
since there was a first-run theatre in the downtown. I remember city
council saying that there would be no more theatre development in Regina
until there was one downtown. The Galaxy in the North-West corner of the
city violated that statement. Harbour Landing will probably violate that
statement in the future.
I miss standing in line outside the Capitol, rain or shine, looking out on
Victoria Park. It was just a great atmosphere to see a show. I also
remember the government plan to move Crown Life from Toronto to Regina and
build them a brand new building on the site of the Capitol Theatre. I loved
all the bustling development of the early 1990s in Regina, but we lost some
important things. We lost our first real tall building on the site of
McCallum Hill Tower I and we lost the Capitol.
In recent years Regina has demolished Presutti’s, the Army and Navy, and
the Medical and Dental Building. Regina’s downtown plan says we should not
lose any more of our historical heritage in the downtown. At least not
while there are ample vacant lots for development, but there are a lot of
other buildings and businesses that are on the endangered list: Novia Cafe,
Canadiana Barbers, the Public Library, and the Mason’s Lodge. Regina will
demolish these. Regina will demolish more. Regina will continue to demolish
an architectural history that makes Regina unique. I will try to tell some
of these stories while they are still around instead of telling this story
almost twenty years after the fact.